— 22 November 2004 —
Because I am a mostly honest person, I’d like to make the following declaration:
I agree with everything that Jakob Nielsen says (today).
The last 200 years have driven centralization and changed the human experience in ways that conflict with evolution. The Internet will reestablish a more balanced, decentralized lifestyle.
I had a conversation at dayjob that revolved around the premise that software development is sadly chained to a manufacturing process approach both in design and development (as well as implementation and maintenance). We don’t have an answer for what should replace the manufacturing schema, just that we think it is a hindrance.
The day it truly doesn’t matter where I do my work, as long as I get it done on time, is the day I will be really happy. The likelihood that I will still be employed when this happens is on this side of nada.
Some companies already do this, but overall it is the exception. We do it at Business Logs because we have to. Much like Yakob’s comment on virtual companies.
Virtual companies instead of big firms in centralized locations. Sorely needed improvements in collaboration software will let people better work together, even if they’re in different locations and work for different companies. Teams will come together for projects based on the required expertise, and then disband. Example: my own company is relatively small, but nonetheless has people in five U.S. locations and operates worldwide.
Though I would caveat his statement slightly (okay I don’t entirely agree with him, whew!): There is benefit in keeping small, persistent core teams that become very familiar with the product or service in question. Building teams based on expertise required is a good thing, but you shouldn’t rely upon it.
People who live with the product or service will come to know it and be able to anticipate needs and changes. The project teams built can come in with fresh eyes, so there’s benefit in that too. As usual, a middle path approach will work best for most companies.